Clegg 'shocked' by Farage's stance on Ukraine

 

The issue of immigration sparked a fiery exchange - Courtesy LBC/Global TV

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Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has gone on the attack following his EU debate with Nigel Farage, accusing the UKIP leader of "siding with Putin" on Ukraine.

At the end of their hour-long clash, Mr Farage said the EU had "blood on its hands" for encouraging revolution.

Mr Clegg, speaking on his weekly LBC radio show, said he was "shocked" by the UKIP leader's words, which he would raise at the pair's next debate.

A YouGov/Sun poll suggested Mr Farage won their first clash by 57% to 36%.

Mr Farage will get a chance to react to the debate on Friday, when he takes part in an LBC phone-in - and the pair will stage another debate on whether Britain should stay in the EU on 2 April, which will be shown on BBC Two.

Most newspapers declared the UKIP leader the winner of the first round, taking their cue from the YouGov poll:

  • The Times said the margin of the UKIP leader's victory was "convincing"
  • "Instant poll says feisty Farage beat cool Clegg," said the Guardian, but accused the UKIP leader of trading in "polemic and distorted facts"
  • The Telegraph said both men would be satisfied with the event, which had "whetted the appetite for similar televised clashes in the general election campaign next year"
  • But Mark Wallace, writing on Conservative Home, said it could establish a precedent for "Second Division" political debates, adding "might Cameron and Miliband be able to do a head to head First Division debate next year?"
  • The Daily Mail declared: "First blood to Farage"
  • The Sun said: "Nigel fries Clegg for breakfast - he wins TV debate"

Liberal Democrat leader Mr Clegg and Mr Farage avoided personal attacks during their debate, trading blows over statistics instead - and the likely impact on the economy of Britain leaving the EU.

Start Quote

Much will be written about who won and who lost this debate. That, though, ignores the reason both men agreed to take part - they knew they could both be winners”

End Quote

The UKIP leader rubbished his rival's claim that quitting the EU would cost three million jobs, saying it was based on out-of-date, discredited research, and Mr Clegg disputed the UKIP man's claim that 75% of Britain's laws were made in Brussels, suggesting Mr Farage had made the figure up.

They also clashed over who was telling the truth about EU immigration and Mr Farage's claim that 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians have the right to come to the UK.

The impact of an EU exit on Britain's standing in the world also provoked fiery exchanges.

Asked why countries like Ukraine was keen to build closer ties with the EU, which he had described as a "failed" institution, Mr Farage said: "We should hang our heads in shame.

Mr Clegg and Mr Farage each had one minute to set out their position as the debate began - Courtesy LBC/Global TV

"The British government has actually geed up the EU to pursue effectively an imperialist, expansionist - and even Mr Barroso the commission president once said we are building an empire.

"We have given a false series of hopes to a group of people in the western Ukraine. So geed up were they that they actually toppled their own elected leader.

"That provoked Mr Putin. I think the EU frankly does have blood on its hands in the Ukraine. And I don't want a European army, navy, air force or a European foreign policy. It has not been a thing for good in the Ukraine."

Reacting to the comments on LBC, Mr Clegg said he was "extraordinarily surprised and shocked to find he (Mr Farage) agrees with Vladimir Putin".

He said it was "insulting" to people in Kiev who were "simply standing up for values that we should share and support, of democracy, of autonomy".

"It shows quite how extreme people can be, like Nigel Farage, when their loathing of the European Union becomes so all-consuming that they even end up siding with Vladimir Putin," he added.

The issue of human rights legislation and its impact on the UK divided the leaders - Courtesy LBC/Global TV

But former UKIP leader Lord Pearson said Mr Farage was "justified in what he said", adding: "It is the EU's territorial ambitions which led them to offer the Ukraine an association agreement."

Former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown said Mr Farage had shown "inexperience" in world affairs, but praised the UKIP leader for debating "at the highest level" with "passion and confidence".

Start Quote

They couldn't bear to look at each other, eyes fixed firmly on the studio audience or TV cameras. ”

End Quote

He said Mr Farage, Nick Clegg and the public had all been the winners after their first televised EU debate, and the two "unequivocal losers", were the Conservatives and Labour who were "too divided" to turn up and argue their case.

In his opening remarks on Wednesday evening, Mr Clegg said "a Britain that leads in the world by standing tall in our own European backyard, a Britain prepared to work with other countries on the things we can't possibly sort out on our own."

He added: "We are better off in Europe - richer, stronger, safer - and that's why I will fight to keep us in, for the sake of jobs, for the sake of our clout in the world, for the sake of Britain."

But Mr Farage replied: "This debate is between a tired status quo defending a crumbling EU that frankly isn't working any more, and a fresh approach that says let's be friendly with Europe, let's trade with Europe, but let's not be governed by their institutions."

Conservative minister Anna Soubry: "What (the public) want is the opportunity to have a referendum. "

Prime Minister David Cameron, who has promised an in-out referendum if the Conservatives win the next election and Labour leader Ed Miliband, who says he will only sanction a referendum if further powers are handed to Brussels, have opted not to take part in the debates.

Conservative minister Anna Soubry said Mr Cameron's decision not to take part was "not really of any relevance at all" and "the real question" was who could deliver a referendum.

A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Cameron did not watch the debate because he had been travelling back to Number 10 after a meeting with the Queen as it began, but he had caught up with it later on TV news bulletins.

Jon Ashworth, Labour shadow minister: "Is it the big issue on people's minds? I don't know"

Labour's shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Ashworth said it had been an "amusing" debate but did not mean much to ordinary voters worried about the cost of living.

For the Scottish National Party, MSP Aileen McLeod said: "Scotland's always been much more pro-European than other parts of the UK

"Our interests are best served by being part and parcel of the EU."

Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood said the two men were "not really focussing on Wales's interests, and Wales's part in this debate".

 

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  • rate this
    -28

    Comment number 848.

    The tragedy here is that there are crucially important things that really make a difference to people's lives, the NHS, unemployment, education, economic growth, defence, policing, the built environment and the like, and they are being sidelined by marginal issues masquerading as important issues. We need to focus on what matters, not this slapstick.

  • rate this
    -66

    Comment number 296.

    I find it shocking that the policies of choice in the UK population are now anti EU, anti US, anti cooperation (with whomever) and blind separatism in the face of what is now a global community of humans with common global issues and interests poised on the brink of true hardship. It suggests to me than man is hell-bent on short termism and self punishment :-(

  • rate this
    +161

    Comment number 289.

    The British public are fed up with politicians trying to worm their way out of every question posed to them. You get the usual 'it's more complicated' or 'you don't understand'. Anything to avoid giving a direct answer. Farage, agree with him or disagree with him, at least he answers the questions posed. Which is what makes him unique among party leaders.

  • rate this
    -49

    Comment number 239.

    What I value more than the right of Europeans to move to the UK, is my right to move to Europe. When I finish my hard graft and it's time to retire, I don't want to stay in Britain. Why should I, when I can find a nice spot in the sun in France, Italy, the Canaries. Moving out of the EU may restrict movement into this country but it also takes away some of our freedom.

  • rate this
    +151

    Comment number 173.

    Whatever anybody thinks, Farage is actually making politics interesting again, he's making us all feel like maybe, just maybe a few things may change and our lives and our country might become a better place.

 

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  8.  
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  9.  
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  10.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 13:12: Get involved

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    Andrew Neil and Michael Gove
     
  12.  
    13:09: A sense of relief?
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  13.  
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  14.  
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  15.  
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  16.  
    Email: haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk 12:58: Get involved

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  17.  
    Text: 61124 12:58: Get involved

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  18.  
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  19.  
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  20.  
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  21.  
    12:49: Robinson verdict Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

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  22.  
    12:47: Big exit
    David and Samantha Cameron
     
  23.  
    Text: 61124 12:45: Get involved

    Chris, in Lancashire: Whatever your political views, you have to say that speech was brilliant.

     
  24.  
    @Kevin_Maguire 12:45: Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror associate editor & New Statesman columnist

    tweets: On style, Cam gave Mili a lecture on how a podium and autocue can trump walking and forgetting. On substance, however...

     
  25.  
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    David Cameron leaves the stage to the sound of Don't Stop by Fleetwood Mac - a song much-heard at Bill Clinton campaign rallies in 1992.

     
  26.  
    12:44: It's over
    David Cameron and Samantha Cameron
     
  27.  
    12:44: Speech done

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  28.  
    12:42: 'Better future'

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  29.  
    12:39: Cameron jokes about Farage and Miliband
    David Cameron addressing the conference
     
  30.  
    12:39: 'Proud again'

    We are making Britain proud again, David Cameron says of the Conservatives. He say exports to China are doubling, with manufacturing booming, record levels of employment and the country taking a lead on climate change. All the hard work is finally paying off and the light is coming up after some long, dark days, the prime minister adds.

     
  31.  
    12:37: Farage

    David Cameron says there is only one real choice - the Conservatives or Labour. A vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour, he adds. On 7 May you could "go to bed with Nigel Farage and wake up with Ed Miliband", the PM warns.

     
  32.  
    12:35: Healthcare spending

    Here is the breakdown of how the government allocated funds to healthcare services in the 2012-13 calendar year, via the BBC's Nick Triggle.

    Spending on health care services 2012-13
     
  33.  
    12:35: Bill of Rights

    David Cameron pledges a new British Bill of Rights under a future Conservative government, and the abolition of Labour's Human Rights Act.

     
  34.  
    12:34: Migration statistics

    Here are the official statistics on international migration since 1995.

    Long-term international migration
     
  35.  
    12:33: Immigration

    David Cameron recaps on his vision for a future Britain - where reward will follow effort and if you put in you get out. But it must also be strong in the world and control its own destiny, he adds, and makes reference to immigration. Mr Cameron says this will be at the very heart of his EU renegotiation strategy. He pledges that he will "not take no for an answer" on free movement. Anyone who thinks he can't achieve this should judge him by his record, he tells activists - pointing out that he secured the first ever EU budget cut. Only the Conservatives can offer the answer on Europe, and deliver the in/out referendum, he adds.

     
  36.  
    Text: 61124 12:32: Get involved

    BBC News website reader: Wow a tax cut for middle income earners. I must be dreaming. Now that would make a huge difference

     
  37.  
    @JohnRentoul 12:32: John Rentoul, Columnist, Independent on Sunday

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  38.  
    12:31: Unemployment

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    Unemployment and Jobseeker's Allowance in the UK 1992-2014
     
  39.  
    12:30: Deficit/surplus

    David Cameron has promised to cut the deficit and achieve a government surplus. Here is the official projection for the next five years.

    Structural deficit and surplus
     
  40.  
    @JamesManning4 12:29: James Manning, Head of Social at @TheSunNewspaper

    tweets: Huge emotion from Cameron on the NHS there. Remarkable moment.

     
  41.  
    12:29: Breaking News

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  42.  
    12:28: NHS

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  43.  
    12:26: Pensions

    David Cameron hails the government's pensions reforms, which meets with applause from party activists.

     
  44.  
    @DuncanWeldon 12:25: Duncan Weldon, Economics Correspondent, BBC Newsnight

    tweets: Raising the higher rate threshold to £50,000 would cost around £5.5bn. So this tax package has a total cost of approx £17.5bn.

     
  45.  
    12:24: Teenagers

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  46.  
    12:23: Unions

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  47.  
    @patrick_kidd 12:23: Patrick Kidd, Editor of The Times Diary column

    tweets: This is a really good speech. Unless you viscerally hate Cameron and the Tories in which case nothing he could say would change you.

     
  48.  
    Tweet: @BBCPolitics 12:22: Get involved

    @Brynleydm tweets: @BBCLouise @BBCPolitics Cameron speech full of what no mention of how

     
  49.  
    12:22: Education

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  50.  
    12:21: Samantha Cameron hears her husband talk about their daughter
    Samantha Cameron watching her husband
     
  51.  
    12:20: Home ownership

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  52.  
    @paulwaugh 12:18: Paul Waugh, Editor of PoliticsHome.com

    tweets: Cameron conference audience feeling 'At last, a proper tax cut for those on middle incomes!'

     
  53.  
    12:17: Forgetting

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  54.  
    @rosschawkins 12:16: Ross Hawkins, BBC

    tweets: Cameron takes aim at Nick Clegg's fox

     
  55.  
    12:15: Spending choice

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  56.  
    12:15: PM: Minimum-wage earners to pay "nothing"
    David Cameron on taxes
     
  57.  
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  58.  
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    David Cameron says raising the income tax threshold to £12,500 will take one million more people out of income tax, and give a tax cut to 30 million people. Those on the minimum wage working 30 hours a week or more will pay "zilch" in income tax, he says to applause.

     
  59.  
    12:11: Breaking News

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  60.  
    12:11: More on taxes

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  61.  
    12:11: Taxes

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  62.  
    12:10: 'Yorkshireman' trending on Twitter

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  63.  
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  64.  
    12:05: Corporate taxes

    David Cameron pledges that a future Conservative government will have the lowest corporate taxes in the G20.

     
  65.  
    12:05: If a selfie isn't possible...
    Audience member taking a picture of David Cameron
     
  66.  
    12:04: Commitments

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  67.  
    12:01: 'Nothing's easy'

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  68.  
    12:00: 'Chance for all'

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  69.  
    11:58: Future

    David Cameron says he wants to secure a working majority at the general election, telling conference that entering into coalition with the Lib Dems was not what he wanted to do but what he had to do. He's now setting out his vision for Britain's future.

     
  70.  
    11:57: English devolution

    David Cameron says he has one more task for William Hague - to ensure "fairness" in the UK's constitutional settlement. He says further devolved powers for Scotland must be matched by greater English devolution - and vows English votes for English laws.

     
  71.  
    @toryboypierce 11:57: Andrew Pierce, Journalist

    tweets: Having met Michael Gove's puppy he's right. You would trust it more than Ed Miliband to do down Putin

     
  72.  
    11:57: William Hague laughs at David Cameron's impersonation
    William Hague laughing
     
  73.  
    11:56: Prime mimicker

    David Cameron draws laughter from the crowd as he attempts to impersonate ex-Conservative leader William Hague. He says he owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Mr Hague, who is standing down as an MP at the general election. Activists give Mr Hague a standing ovation.

     
  74.  
    11:56: Jihadists warning

    David Cameron highlights the UK's role in military operations against IS militants in Iraq - and says there is no walk-on-by option. He says the Conservatives will do whatever it takes to keep the country safe. To British nationals who go abroad to jihadist wars in Syria and Iraq, Mr Cameron sends a message: "You are an enemy of the UK and you should expect to be treated as such."

     
  75.  
    11:53: 'Hellish crucible'

    David Cameron tells conference he wants to set out how to build a Britain that "everyone is proud to call home". He pays tribute to UK combat troops in Afghanistan - who are returning from operations at the end of the year. Activists applaud. He goes on to stress the threat posed by Islamist extremism which has found a "hellish crucible" with IS in Iraq.

     
  76.  
    11:52: The cabinet stands to applaud
    The Cabinet applauds David Cameron
     
  77.  
    @janemerrick23 11:51: Jane Merrick, Political Editor of @indyonsunday & columnist for @independent

    tweets: "The run up to that referendum was the most nerve-racking of my life" says Cameron. Good honest admission #cpc14

     
  78.  
    11:50: David Cameron gets standing ovation
    David Cameron entering the stage
     
  79.  
    11:50: Scottish referendum

    David Cameron opens by talking about the Scottish independence referendum. He tells conference of his pride at being able to stand there as prime minister "of four nations in one United Kingdom". He pays tribute to Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. He describes the lead-up to the referendum as one of the "most nervous weeks of my life".

     
  80.  
    11:47: PM is here

    Activists are on their feet as David Cameron takes to the stage. Union flags are being waved. His cabinet is lined up along the front row, clapping.

     
  81.  
    @BBCRichardMoss 11:46: Richard Moss, BBC

    tweets: The Killers providing the soundtrack to warm-up video for Cameron speech at #cpc14. Will PM be Mr Brightside? See what I did there.

     
  82.  
    11:45: Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Danny Finkelstein, columnist for The Times and a Conservative peer, says the confidence in the Conservative Party this week is based on the fact that Ed Miliband had a "very bad week".

     
  83.  
    11:44: Not long

    The audience is being treated to a short film before the leader's speech. David Cameron's wife, Samantha, has just taken her seat.

     
  84.  
    @BBCLouise 11:43: Louise Stewart, BBC

    tweets: Gove says he would trust his Bichon Frisée puppy dog Snowy over Ed Miliband to face down Putin

     
  85.  
    @BBCNormanS 11:42: Norman Smith, BBC

    tweets: Theresa May leadership stakes go up another notch as Michael Gove refers to her as "The Iron Lady" #cpc14

     
  86.  
    11:41: Miliband

    Michael Gove takes a swipe at Labour's record in office. He says the only way to secure Britain's future is with a Conservative government led by David Cameron. Ed Miliband cannot provide leadership as he's never offered anything other than a "warm bath of cliche", Mr Gove tells the hall. He comments that Mr Miliband's stance on UK air strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria was "as reassuring as a Kleenex parachute".

     
  87.  
    11:40: Gove warms up crowd
    Michael Gove
     
  88.  
    @Tinglepolitics 11:39: Len Tingle, BBC

    tweets: Outside #Conservative conference. No doubting what this bloke wants-he mentions 1940 and the Germans a lot #CPC14. See photo

     
  89.  
    11:38: Social justice

    Michael Gove says society is fairer, with the gap between rich and poor "closing". He brands the Conservatives as the party of social justice and progress - as "only we know" the importance of a secure economy and a strong leader. Labour is unfit to govern, he adds.

     
  90.  
    11:36: Praise

    Michael Gove praises David Cameron and George Osborne's "guts" for sticking to their long-term economic plan. Britain is on the rise again and we must not let Labour pull us back down, he tells activists.

     
  91.  
    @nigelfletcher 11:35: Nigel Fletcher, ex-Conservative adviser

    tweets: Didn't even try to get into the hall for the PM's speech- watching instead in the #LondonLounge, my conference home from home. #CPC14

     
  92.  
    11:34: What we've done

    Michael Gove is listing the government's achievement, including on the economy, housing and pensions.

     
  93.  
    11:34: Tax pledge? Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    BBC political editor Nick Robinson describes the Conservative guarantee to ring-fence NHS spending as a "statement of the blindingly politically obvious", and says he suspects the rumoured big policy announcement by David Cameron will be related to tax: either raising the personal allowance on income tax up to a level ensuring no-one on the minimum wage pays income tax, or reforming National Insurance in a similar fashion.

     
  94.  
    11:33: Gove love

    David Cameron's warm-up act is Michael Gove - former education secretary, now Conservative chief whip. He's a huge hit with activists - who stand, whoop and wave their papers as he enters the hall.

     
  95.  
    Tweet: @BBCPolitics 11:32: Get involved

    @ultramodtro tweets: Just watchin' the @daily_politics while I finish my tea, before going into the spillover hall to watch the PM. #CFC14. See photo

     
  96.  
    11:32: Let the music play

    The hall is full and the press pack is huddled along the front of the stage. The Electric Light Orchestra's Mr Blue Sky plays through the speakers.

     
  97.  
    11:31: Cheers

    A standing ovation for Philip Hammond, as the hall readies itself for David Cameron. First up, though, is Conservative Chief Whip Michael Gove.

    Audience
     
  98.  
    11:30: Hammond concludes

    Britain cannot afford five more minutes, let alone five years, of Labour, Philip Hammond asserts. He tells conference only the Conservatives can deliver growth, jobs and an in/out referendum on the EU, as he brings his speech to a close.

    Philip Hammond
     
  99.  
    11:27: EU negotiations

    The foreign secretary says his priority between now and the general election in May is to lay the groundwork for EU reform negotiations, so that the Conservatives will "already be in pole position" if they win power.

     
  100.  
    11:26: Lib Dems attacked

    Philip Hammond quotes Margaret Thatcher now - which goes down well in the hall. He says slowly but surely other EU states are "coming round" to the need for change. Mr Hammond attacks Labour for "surrendering" sovereignty and taxpayers' money to EU - and counters that the Conservatives have started to "reverse that trend" - noting David Cameron's success in securing an EU budget cut. "All that in coalition with the most Brussels-loving bunch of Europhiles you could ever wish to meet," Mr Hammond says, and adds: "Just think what a proper Conservative government could do."

     

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